Extraction of Safe Operating Area and long term reliability of experimental Silicon Carbide Super Gate Turn off Thyristors

S. Lacouture, J. A. Schrock, W. B. Ray, E. A. Hirsch, S. Bayne, M. Giesselmann, H. O'Brien, A. Ogunniyi, C. Scozzie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While Silicon Carbide (SiC) based power switching elements are starting to appear that are able to perform better than their Si counterparts in terms of voltage hold off, current density and operating temperature, the material is still relatively new in the semiconductor arena, and although new device designs are simulated extensively before being committed to fabrication, there is often a large discrepancy between actual device performance and simulated results. Manufacturers certainly carry out some electrical testing of these quasi experimental components, but there is a dearth of information pertaining to Safe Operating Area (SOA) and device longevity. Texas Tech University's Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics, in cooperation with Army Research Lab, has carried out extensive long term, high - energy testing of SiC Super Gate Turn Off Thyristors (SGTOs) produced by Cree Inc. To conduct this extremely high volume testing at high energy levels, an automated test bed was designed that pulses the devices for an arbitrary number of cycles and alternately switches the device to a low energy characterization system, with all waveforms and current - voltage characteristics recorded. Approximately 350,000 high energy cycles on various SGTOs have been recorded. From this large database of results, actual SOA at high cycle count (>>10,000 pulses) has been extracted for the devices. With each cycle's waveforms recorded, and the devices' characteristics traced at chosen intervals, several distinct changes in these parameters have been found to inevitably herald the imminent failure of a device the most common change is in the gate - anode junction, where curve traces show a leaking, almost resistive behavior immediately before the junction becomes forward biased. As the system is completely automated, and limits can be set to halt a test sequence upon being broached, several devices have been brought to the brink of failure - an event that is usually catastrophic, physically destroying the device - to be examined by the manufacturer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479984039
StatePublished - Oct 12 2015
EventIEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2015 - Austin, United States
Duration: May 31 2015Jun 4 2015

Publication series

NameDigest of Technical Papers-IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference


ConferenceIEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Anodes
  • Discharges (electric)
  • Logic gates
  • Performance evaluation
  • Silicon carbide
  • Testing
  • Thyristors


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